Knox Box

Fire Department Key Box Installation

The Knox-Box® Rapid Entry System is a secure emergency access program developed for property owners and first responders. First Responders across North America use the Knox-Box Rapid Entry System to prevent costly entry damage while protecting property and lives. When a fire breaks out or there is a medical emergency, Knox® products allow immediate entry into buildings and property without forced entry damage or delay. Property owners store entrance keys, access cards and floor plans in high-security Knox-Box key boxes mounted near building entrances. Each Knox-Box purchased by a property owner is keyed to a single master key controlled by the local responding department.

In addition to key boxes and vaults, Knox padlocks and key switches operate with the same master key. There are so many gated communities today that fire and police departments are delayed when responding to emergency calls. Increased property damage and even total loss is a threat when property is not accessible.

The Knox Rapid Entry System was developed to save property and lives.

If you would like to learn more about our products, you can browse our electronic library here or place a request for printed brochures here.


Steps for getting a Knox-Box for my building: If you have any questions, please contact the Hershey Volunteer Fire Department before ordering.

  1. Your building is located in Township of Derry, Dauphin County, Pennsylvania.
  2. Determine the number of items needed stored in the key box for the building.  Generally:
    1. One master key (or set of keys) per floor (or per 10,000 sq feet.)
    2. One set of keys per elevator.
    3. Alarm panel, pull station, sprinkler and other fire protection controls.
    4. Electronic access cards, padlocks and/or special keys not on the master system.
    5. Computer thumb drive with building plans, your emergency procedures, hazardous materials on site and emergency contacts in .PDF format. Placed in a plastic bag.
  3. Visit or call 1-800-552-5669

Place an order for the correct product and accessories.

  • If less than 10 keys see Knox-Box 3200 Series (most common)
  • If 11-24 keys, see Knox Box 4100 Series
  • If 25-50 keys see Knox Box 4500 Series
  • SARA III facility, see Knox Cabinet
  • If more than 50 keys or other situations, contact the Hershey Fire Department first.
  1. Select the zip code for the installation building and select the Hershey Vol FD, 21 W Caracas Ave Hershey, PA 17033. No signature from the FD is needed to order products.
  2. Determine a location to mount the key box.
    1. An outside wall that is strong and has reasonable access 24/7 in any weather condition.
    2. No higher than 6 feet off the ground.
    3. Near an obvious outside fire department entry location such as the front door, control point or sprinkler door. Discuss with the fire department any non-obvious location before installation.
  3. Pick your color
  4. Pick door type
  5. Pick mounting type
    1. Surface mounted (easy to install on most surfaces)
    2. Recessed (door is flush with wall). Requires a mounting kit.
  6. Pick Tamper switch. Optional but gives an additional layer of security.
  7. Place order with the Knox Company with shipping to your location.
  8. Mount box according to the instructions from the Knox Company. The finished box will remain open after installation. Use of a professional installer is highly recommended.
  9. Gather all items for the box (see #2 above).  Determine the primary emergency point of contact (ie who gets a phone call in the middle of the night during a holiday). Keys should be clearly marked by use. Key rings and tags may be needed to sort keys by function.
  10. Contact the Hershey Fire Department to secure the box (see below).
    1. A Dauphin County release will need to be signed during this visit by authorized staff.
    2. The FD officer will place the red Knox Alert Decal to the front door to alert responders there is a Knox-Box on-site.
  11. If your keys or emergency contact person is changed for any reason, contact the Hershey FD as soon as possible.


Contact Information:

Rodney Sonderman, Deputy Fire Chief, or  (717) 368-8581

Pat Leonard, Fire Chief, or (717) 368-4309

Code related questions can be asked at Derry Township Community Development, 717-533-2057, option 2




Do I have to order a Knox-Box? Derry Township ordinance requires a key box be installed on all new non-residential construction in Derry Township. A key box is standard fire protection requirement across the country which reduces response time, property damage and key liability. The Hershey FD uses the Knox Company as the approved key box system.


Can’t I just give the Fire Department keys to my building? With more than 10,000 buildings in the township, it would be a nightmare for us to manage all those keys. So we keep your keys securely attached to your building.


My building has 24/7 staffing, is the Knox-box still needed? Yes. Your staffing situation may change in the lifetime of the building. Staff might not have access to master keys, alarm panel or special keys such as elevator controls.


How secure is the system? Multiple redundant security steps are in place before your keys can be accessed in an emergency situation.  Your approved signature authorization is on file with Dauphin County 911. The fire dept is called to an emergency event at your location. The 911 center verifies your authorization is on file. 911sends a coded signal that unlocks the unique fire department key on the fire engine. The FD key opens the box to access the building master keys. (If the optional tamper switch is installed, a supervisor signal is sent to the alarm panel).  Once the emergency event is mitigated, the master keys are counted, returned to the box and secured. The FD key is returned to the fire engine and locked until the next call.


Do I need a tamper switch? No. The tamper switch is optional but gives an additional layer of security.


When will the Knox-Box be used? Only during a fire/rescue related emergency.  


What is the most common reason the fire department will use the key box? An automatic fire alarm is the most common reason the fire department is called to a facility. Having a key box allows firefighters to access the building and start mitigating a problem, before a key holder arrives from off-site. Keys also prevent unnecessary damage to doors, windows or locking mechanisms.


The building is on fire, will the FD take time to use the key box? Maybe not. While minimizing property damage is a goal of the department, in an obvious emergency situation firefighters will access the building with any means necessary, which may include forcible entry with axes or pry bars.  


I am not comfortable leaving keys to my home with a neighbor. Is there a box for my house? Yes the Knox-Box Residential is for a single key home use.  This permits the FD to access you house and not need to rely on your neighbors to have a key. 

© 2023 Hershey Volunteer Fire Department